(Or how an epic fail turned into a yummy cake.)
"The night before Christmas" evokes magic and holiday spirit. It can also bring up images on delicious White Chocolate Macadamia Rasperry cakes from Fine Cooking... that is, until you actually follow the recipe step-by-step, and put the first cake layer in the oven for "28 to 35" minutes. 28 minutes later, unbaked. 35? Same thing. An hour later, the layer was baked, but once it cooled there was no doubt about it: too much butter in the recipe. Just putting my finger on the cake made it glistening, and although the cake wasn't terrible-tasting, it did have a strong butter note that I could've done without.
Off to the birds it went.
I wouldn't say it became The Nightmare Before Christmas, but it came close. I didn't know what to bake to make up for my ingredient-heavy and time-consuming failed cake. In fact, I didn't even know where to start looking. I wanted something easy but holiday-worthy, and those two don't go together much. And I definitely wanted a cake, not cookies or biscotti, as tempted as I was.
I settled on a chocolate cake, and decided to use the raspberries that were planned for cake #1. That is, until we realized that despite what the man at the market said, they had definitely gone bad. Raspberry jam would do. Chocolate, jam... sachertorte!
I would call this a modified sachertorte, because it seems that the traditional one uses apricot jam and a chocolate-syrup glaze (I used ganache). However, it came together easily and I added the raspberry jam and glaze the next morning. After a little decorating, the result was pretty nice. Well, especially nice after such a bad start!
And the taste? Everyone was happy, and the jam provided a nice contrast to the chocolate.
Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.
Makes one 9-inch two-layer cake
(sorry for the European measurements!)
130g dark chocolate (Ghirardelli's 72% baking chips were great)
40g confectioner's sugar
1 TS vanilla extract
6 eggs, whites and yolks separated
180g granulated sugar
130g all-purpose flour
350g raspberry jam
4 oz. dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 190°C.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Let cool to 35°C.
Beat butter, confectioner's sugar, salt, and vanilla with a mixer. Add chocolate and beat until fluffy. Add six egg yolks one at a time, until blended.
Beat egg whites to stiff peaks with granulated sugar. Fold into the chocolate mixture.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Butter a 9-in. springform pan, and add a disk of buttered parchment paper to the bottom of the pan. Pour batter in, smooth, and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes.
Once cake is completely cooled, split it in half to create two layers. Heat raspberry jam until it becomes easy to spread, and spread half between the two layers and on top layer.
Spread remaining jam on the sides of the cake and spread another layer on top. Refrigerate cake 30 minutes so the jam sets.
Make chocolate ganache: melt chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from heat and add cream, beating for 15 to 30 seconds. Spread on top and sides of cake. (This may seem like the "opposite" way to make ganache, but it works)
Decorate, and keep cake in a cool place until serving.